The international expansion of the NXT brand is set to continue in 2021 with the launch of NXT India.
India is a logical place for NXT’s next outpost. The country has an enormous population of potential untapped talent and more crucially, a population that has a strong seam of wrestling fans through it.
WWE has long been one of the most prominent televised sports properties in the country. Cricket is, by an enormous degree, the most popular sport in the country and on television, but wrestling is one of the more prominent ‘sports’ behind it.
WWE currently have a broadcast deal in place with Sony Pictures India to broadcast on Ten Sports.
This deal has, for many years, been WWE’s most lucrative international broadcast deal. WWE’s main programming airs on Sony Ten 1, the flagship channel of the group.
If NXT India does come to fruition, it will not be the first time a major American wrestling company has produced a show for the Indian market.
In 2011, TNA Wrestling began production of Ring Ka King in Mumbai. The show featured a mix of local talent and international names such as Abyss, Magnus (Nick Aldis) and Scott Steiner.
The show aired on the Colors Network in India. Despite huge ratings by international standards, the show was not considered a success by the network and was cancelled after one season.
The failure was considered one of positioning rather than based on the quality and popularity of the show. It was a programme aimed squarely at children but aired in a time slot where traditionally, parents in a household in India would have control of the television, thus it struggled to hit its audience.
The man in charge of that project, Jeff Jarrett, is now part of WWE’s live events and international team.